Polite software should be fudgable

When manual tasks and processes are automated, most of the time something is
lost in the middle. The most simple thing that is lost is flexibility. When
humans interact with a process, they can always adjusts things to their own way.
When handling an expense request, the account payables department may want to
approve it faster if the request is coming from that project in China that is
behind schedule, so the priorities in the process change. When we automate the
expense reimbursement request with software, these flexibilities are gone making
the software not likable for users.

That is how Alan Cooper describes fudgable software in his extraordinary book
The Inmates Are Running the Asylum : Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity (2nd Edition): “I call this ability to take actions
out of sequence or before prerequisites are satisfied fudgability
“.

For solving the problem, Alan describes in his book that software should be
flexible enough to handle this out of sequence tasks in the process allowing
persons to interact with it in a more human way. It’s like letting the users
decide which is the best way to handle a request.

This flexibility in software maybe one of the most complicated task to
accomplish during construction. Generally products are locked in the way a
workflow should execute, closing any other variables and exceptions that the
final user may want to use, as Alan explains in his book. But, if we achieved
this kind of malleability in software, we are making software that acts more
like a human allowing interaction to be kindly.

This kind of flexibility in software can be achieved using
business process
management software
like Procx. The process per se can be changed and
configured according to organizational needs. Exceptions can be taken in and out
of the process as management wants. A request for a purchase order can no longer
be locked in an specific workflow forever. Process analysts can draw their
processes in the workflow
product
and decide under which rules it will execute.

So, the interaction of the user with the process is not embedded in the
software, it would be built in Procx allowing the process to be as flexible as
the organization and management wants. It’s a new way of automating processes.
What do you think?

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